Less than a week after I had spoken at Mobiconf, I was travelled to Florence, Italy, to speak at Pragma Conference. I was surprised to learn that it was only the third instalment, given the level of professionalism I witnessed.
The conference took place in a Starhotels Hotel, where on the first day you would have a variety of workshops and on the second day the actual talks happened. The presentations where loosely divided into a coding and a design track. The former took place in a nice large conference room, the latter was relegated to a smaller room downstairs.
Though this separation was not so clear cut: Several coding talks ended up in the secondary conference room. I didn’t mind so much being counted as a “design talk”, because I am that my Keynote presentation was very well designed.
The most valuable contribution to the goodie bag was contributed by sponsor IBM, in the form of in-ear headphones. T-Shirt and tote bag were nice as well. But my attention was particularly drawn to a red anti-stress ball.
Speaking of Stress …
The IBM representative was promoting IBM’s mobile services around Watson. But he was mostly unable to give live demonstrations because the hotel-provided WiFi was often unusable. Few hotel WiFi-installations are able to handle hundreds of iOS devices as carried by hundreds of iOS developers.
One thing I found odd: It happened twice during that day that I approached a table with coffee and sweets and poured myself a cup. This resulted – on both occasions – in me receiving a scolding by hotel staff. The coffee was meant for the coffee break (in one hour) and if everybody was helping themselves then there would not be anything left when the break was scheduled. Although, when I offered to pour back the contents of my cup they let me drink it after all…
I gave my own talk in the afternoon, after having watched several great talks by other speakers. My personal favourite turned out to be Ray Wenderlich contributor Marin Todorov who made the optimistic point that our industry is just in its infancy.
When Marcus Zarra mentioned in this talk – about async Core Data – that there are many blogs are getting it wrong, I had to check my own article I had written on the subject in 2012. I was quite relieved when I saw that my guide still was exactly the way how Zarra explained “the best way” to do it.
It is great to see that several conferences worth going to are being established in Europe. Florence is not a bad place for that.
#pragma mark, the organization behind the conference, describe themselves as “first community of iOS and OS X developers in Italy”. As such their events are also purely focussed on Apple platforms. Being only interested in those myself, I felt a deep feeling of satisfaction after a day of many interesting talks.
The organisers did a great job of assembling a cast of speakers which gave presentations ranging from inspiring to amusing. The roster contained a veritable who-is-who of the iOS development scene. There was even an Apple evangelist amongst the attendees. Even though he didn’t want too much attention, or even to be heralded, I would call his mere presence a sign of silent validation.